This is a complete audio recording from the April 21, 2011 joint committee hearing on the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance. The hearing was of the council's Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities, Alderman Ginger Rugai, Chairman and the Committee on Health, Alderman James Balcer, Chairman. It was recorded by Kelly Pierce of the Chicago Independent Media Center.
The ordinance pertains to Chicago's two coal-powered electric generating stations, Fisk and Crawford. The two power plants together can produce enough electricity to power 1,019,000 homes. Crawford, on Pulaski Road in Little Village, started generating power in 1924. The two units still in use date from 1958 and 1961. Fisk, on Cermak Road in Pilsen, is older. It started in 1903. The unit still in use was built in 1959. Because the units were operating when the Clean Air Act passed in 1970, they are held to lighter pollution standards than a new plant. More people live near Crawford and Fisk than any other coal plants in America.
The ordinance would set a 10-micron particulate matter limit about equal to a new coal plant, which is a 90 percent reduction of present levels. It would also establish a standard for particulate matter emissions of 2.5 microns. The plants currently have no regulation for such emissions. The Ordinance would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the level of a natural gas plant, effectively requiring the generating stations to convert to burn natural gas or cease operations.
Technical difficulties of a drained battery and a full minidisc caused the loss of about a minute of the colloquy between Alderman Pat Dowell and Chicago Environment Commissioner Suzanne Malec-McKenna and about two minutes from the testimony of Faith Bugel from the Environmental Law and Policy center. No other editing has occurred.
The applause for certain statements or speakers may not fully reflect the public opinion of Chicago residents. Multiple sources report that the owner of the coal plants, Midwest Generation, rented seven 52-seat Coach buses and drove workers from its other coal plants in northern Illinois to Chicago's City Hall, arriving at about 7:00 a.m. Hundreds of supporters could not enter the council chambers.
Appreciation is extended to city hall staff who provided access to the press gallery and assistance to the sound system audio. If it were not for their help, this recording would not be possible.
The recording was made directly from the mult box in the city council audio system. It was recorded with a Sony MZ-b100 minidisc recorder in mono mode and transferred to digital using an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 sound card capturing the audio in 24 bit with a 44.1 sampling rate. The resulting .wav files were processed with the Studio Recorder audio editor.